Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Easter, Egg

Do you hide real eggs or fake?  Growing up we always hardboiled our eggs and dyed them the night before Easter.  Then, early in the morning, my mom and dad the Easter Bunny would hide them.  Fake eggs were used in our Easter baskets and the real eggs were pitched and never eaten.

My husband loves deviled eggs so when we stumbled upon this gadget while registering for our wedding years ago we just had to have it.  Drop this hard resin "egg" in to the boiling water with the real eggs and it changes color (like a mood ring, remember those?) to show you when the eggs are done.  Genius!  

Egg Timer
Crate & Barrel $4.95
When your eggs are ready, gently scoop them out with a slotted spoon and rinse in cold water (this makes removing the shell easier), then place in the fridge to cool. 

My favorite way to eat hardboiled eggs? 
Over a paper towel with sea salt while standing at the kitchen island. 

Next to a banana, an egg may be the best hand-held, whole snack food out there.

Have a Hoppy Easter, everyone!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guest Blogging at Apples to Zucchini

One of my happy places is the kitchen. 
Yes, there's the constant cleaning (I actually enjoy doing dishes), but there's also...

the joy of cooking healthy, fresh, comforting meals for my family
discovering unique ways to use ingredients or blend flavors
the calming ritual of measuring and following a recipe
savoring a glass of wine while cooking and laughing with my husband
menu planning (appeals to my organizational tendancies)

And we haven't even gotten to the eating part!  Good food is important to me.  I actually keep a list of favorite local restaurants and new restaurants to try.  The Food section in the paper is the one I read first.  Even as I write this my mind is swirling with memorable meals at special restaurants in the past.  By special I don't neccessarily mean expensive.  For me it's the food, but also the ambiance, service and dining companions that make the meal.  Sure the seven course tasting menu with wine pairings at La Toque in Napa was beyond amazing, but so was riding bikes to La Super-Rica in Santa Barbara for serious tacos with my pal Coco. 

A few months ago I started a little thing in our household called Meatless Mondays.  Just trying to think outside the box and add more veggies, whole grains and legumes to our diet. 

My friend Shannon over at Apples to Zucchini kindly asked me to guest blog about MM and not only am I honored, but the whole experience brings things full circle.  Our moms became friends shortly after we were born.  Over the years many recipes have been exchanged and meals have been shared.  Pretty cool to be moms ourselves now and coming together to share memorable, healthful meals for our kids.

So take a peek, enjoy Shannon's fantastic and funny blog, Apples to Zucchini, and get cookin'!

Apples to Zucchini

Monday, March 21, 2011

Introducing...The Itty Bitty!

Itty Bitty Petals are flying off the shelves faster than I can make them or even snap a photo for the blog.  Today was a rainy day (surprising after 90 degrees yesterday) and the perfect chance to crank out some Itty Bitties and take photos.

Petal, Mini Petal and Itty Bitty

Itty Bittys are half the size of Mini Petals (about 1.5-2 inches in diameter) and the perfect size for infants and toddlers. 


So cute popped in to a toddler's ponytail or on newborn's cap - can later be removed and worn in their hair once they have some.  They are also really popular on headbands for women and children, so check my Shop for the new options.

Itty Bittys are available in all the same styles and colors as Petals and Mini Petals. 
Solids available: white, cream, yellow, navy, lavender, light pink, hot pink...
I also do custom orders for no additional charge so the choices are limitless!

I'm considering offering these hats for toddlers and girls.
Distressed military-style with Itty Bitty attached.  What do you think?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Announcing Magnolia Market

Super exciting news! 
After the success of the Petal Pusher and Thirty One trunk show in February, we got together with a few other local women entrepreneurs and developed...

Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market is a traveling in-home marketplace featuring several different vendors.
Think of it as a boutique that rotates quarterly from home-to-home in North Scottsdale.

Magnolia Market will be open May 15 from 1-3pm

Here's a sneak peek at just a few of the vendors scheduled for May:

Petal Pusher Accessories
Thirty One

Be Cutieful Keyband - Carnival Bloom with Swarovski Crystals
Be Cutieful
http://www.becutieful.com/Be_Cutieful/welcome_to_Be_Cutieful.html

Blush Soy Candles
http://www.tdblushcandles.blogspot.com/

Stella & Dot
http://home.stelladot.com/

We hope to see you at Magnolia Market!
More details to come!!!



Monday, March 7, 2011

Cost Plus World Market - Who Knew!?

I shop at Cost Plus World Market quite a bit, but usually head to the wine or kitchen accessory aisles.  After browsing the furniture section and checking out their new arrivals, I was surprised at all the on-trend designs.  They've got the industrial cottage chic, Restoration Hardware look at super prices.  On their website you can create a Wish List too.
Aiden Etagere | World Market
Aiden Etagere $260
Jackson Metal Tub Chair | World Market
Jackson Metal Tub Chair $200

Campaign Desk | World Market
Campaign Desk $200 on sale
Campaign Chair | World Market
Campaign Chair $100 on sale
French Bistro Side Chair, Set of 2 | World Market
French Bistro Side Chair $260 for set of two
Norah Gray Wash Wood Clock | World Market
Norah Gray Wash Wood Clock $50
Mason Jar Water Tank | World Market
Mason Jar Water Tank $15
Natural Fiber Drum Stool | World Market
Natural Fiber Drum Stool $49.99
8-Piece Decanter & Tumblers Set with Willow Holder | World Market
8 Piece Decanter & Tumbler Set with Willow Holder $20
Thought these kitchen floor mats were fun too...

Barn Board Cushion Floor Mat | World MarketKeep Calm and Carry On Cushion Floor Mat, Black | World MarketKitchenette Cushion Floor Mat, Black | World Market
Bar None Cushion Floor Mat, Brown | World MarketCircle Bloom Cushion Floor Mat | World MarketSorry Kitchen Closed Cushion Floor Mat | World Market

Friday, March 4, 2011

St Patrick's Day - Green Food & Other Fun Finds

Sorry, Mrs. Field's.  Urban Cookies has you beat hands down.  These gourmet cookies taste fantastic, but the packaging is a downright work of art.  Each box is drizzled with a chocolate design.  Here's the design they're rockin' for St Patrick's Day...
Urban Cookies shamrock packaging
Check out the new Irish Chocolate cupcake at Sprinkles March 4-20...Drum roll please...Dark chocolate topped with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting.  Mmm...
Divine Twine at Whisker Graphics.  Perfect for tying up your sweet treats...

Green Apple Divine Twine

How cute is this tiny magical leprechaun door by Clay by Kim on Etsy!?  Wonder what mischief those leprechauns could get in to at night.

Leprechaun /Fairy DoorLeprechaun /Fairy Door

This is one of my favorite dip recipes - light, creamy and tangy with a little bite.  Since the tomatillos prevent the avocados from browning, you can make this ahead of time.  If you don't want to fuss with the pita chips you can always serve with store-bought tortilla chips instead.  Although, the pita chips don't take much effort and add alot of zing. (Recipe below)

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip with Cumin Pita Chips
Cooking Light
 These little skewers are easy to assemble, easy to pop in your mouth and easy on the hips!  Just layer pieces of basil, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini (baby fresh mozzarella balls).  Then drizzle with a little olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Caprese Skewers
What makes these quesaillas unique is the cilantro and pepita pesto in lieu of the traditional basil and pine nuts.  I use my panini press to grill these up nice and quick, then a pizza cutter to slice them in to individual appetizer-size pieces.  Top it with fresh mashed guac for more green color. (Recipe below)
Shrimp & Cilantro Pesto Quesadillas

Avocado-Tomatillo Dip with Cumin Pita Chips

Chips:
3 (6-inch) pitas, split in half horizontally
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Dip:
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 5 large)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare chips, coat rough side of each pita half with cooking spray; sprinkle pita halves evenly with cumin seeds, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cut each pita half into 8 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until
golden brown.

To prepare dip, discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Place tomatillos in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add sour cream and avocado; process until smooth. Serve with chips.

Shrimp & Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla

1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut shrimp lengthwise in half.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Vegetable oil
6 6-inch diameter flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro pumpkin seed pesto (recipe to follow)
2 cups (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 oz)
1 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)

1. Preheat large saute pan to medium high heat. Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil. Add shrimp to heated pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Lay flour tortillas out flat and layer each on one half with some sauteed shrimp, a few teaspoons of cilantro pesto and both cheeses, making sure some cheese is on top layer and bottom layer.

4. Fold tortillas in half and brush both sides of tortilla with some vegetable oil, bake in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and serve with some of the remaining pesto. Cut into wedges and serve.

Cilantro and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
6 tbsp olive oil
2 cups unsalted hulled (green pumpkin seeds) “pepitas”
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
4 scallions, chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.

2. Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Tips:
*Remaining pesto will keep for one week. Try tossing it in hot pasta
*You can get pepitas at Trader Joe’s or you can substitute with pine nuts
*To clean cilantro: when you bring it home from the grocery store, rinse it thoroughly, then place it in a glass as you would a bouquet of flowers. If you don’t intend to use it soon, wrap it in a paper towel and put it in your refrigerator.
*De-thaw shrimp by putting in a bowl and covering with 1/2 water and 1/2 milk. It eliminates any freezer taste.
*"green onion" means the entire onion, "scallion" is just the green part

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Favorite Things for Kids

Other moms are the best source of information for anything kid-related.  I always turn to my friends for suggestions on doctors, schools, sports programs, clothes, shoes...You name it!
Thought you might enjoy seeing my current list of favorite things for kiddos.

A week or so ago my husband and I had *had* it with the leaky sippy cup situation.  In one fell swoop we decided to ditch them for good and switch to regular cups.  While it has been a little messy, it's been much easier than dealing with those gurgling, leaking sippy cups (shudder).  Staying hydrated is important and even more so for us desert dwellers, so for on-the-go drinks my son and daughter use these BPA-free CamelBak water bottles.  They are a bit more expensive than sippies, but the fact that they do not leak won out over price.  Cute designs too!
CamelBak Kids' Bottle - REI $14
Both of my kids have curly hair, but my daughter's is downright kinky.  We get lots of comments on it and I agree it sure is darling, but it's also high maintenance! 
Curly girl at the beach last summer
Twice a day (in the morning and after nap) I spray Circle of Friends Pia's Pineapple Detangler throughout, comb out and let air dry.  This results in yummy smelling ringlets rather than knots and gnarls.  Then I pop in a Mini Petal or Clippy and we're good to go! 
Circle of Friends Pia's Pineapple Detangler
These jeans from Old Navy are the cutest for girls under $20.  In fact, if you buy two pair they are only $12 each!  I love the flared leg, pink stitching and sailor-style buttons at the pockets.  I think these are the only jeans I have ever bought for my daughter.
Double-Button Boot Cut Jeans
It's so refreshing stumbling on a product that is just basic, good ol' fashioned fun.  Eeboo games are just that.  Simple designs and bright colors that attract parents and kids alike.  Fantastic paper dolls, matching games and puzzles.  They also have cool journals for young writers.
eeBoo Playing Cards - Color Go Fish --eeBoo Elodie & Naomi Musician & Artist Paper Doll Set  eeBoo MGLOE Life on Earth Matching Game
Okay, now this next toy and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship.  Much more love than hate though.  My son spends hours using his imagination (love, love, love) and then we spend hours cleaning up all the itty bitty parts (not really lovin' that part).  Playmobil has been around for years and with good reason.  From pirates, to fire department crews to knights and horse shows, each "set" allows for creative play and helps with fine motor skills.  My son got this castle for Christmas and it's amazing...Until little sister tries to sit inside it, but that's another story.
Playmobil
What are some of your favorite things for kids?